Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin: The Impact of Task Juggling on Workers' Speed of Job Completion
Andrea Ichino and
No 16502, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
We show that task juggling, i.e., the spreading of effort across too many active projects, decreases the performance of workers, raising the chances of low throughput, long duration of projects and exploding backlogs. Individual speed of job completion cannot be explained only in terms of effort, ability and experience: work scheduling is a crucial "input" that cannot be omitted from the production function of individual workers. We provide a simple theoretical model to study the effects of increased task juggling on the duration of projects. Using a sample of Italian judges we show that those who are induced for exogenous reasons to work in a more parallel fashion on many trials at the same time, take longer to complete similar portfolios of cases. The exogenous variation that identifies this causal effect is constructed exploiting the lottery that assigns cases to judges together with the procedural prescription requiring judges to hold the first hearing of a case no later than 60 days from filing.
JEL-codes: J0 K4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Note: LE LS
References: View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Working Paper: Don’t spread yourself too thin. The impact of task juggling on workers’ speed of job completion (2011)
Working Paper: Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin. The Impact of Task Juggling on Workers' Speed of Job Completion (2010)
Working Paper: Don't Spread Yourself Too Thin: The Impact of Task Juggling on Workers' Speed of Job Completion (2010)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16502
Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().